A Ghost’s Requiem – By Lisa Kessler
I can hear you. Can you hear me?
You do hear me. Christ, after all these years someone can hear me. There’s so much I want to say. Where do I start?
What can I tell you about death?
Well, there are worse things in this world. I know that now. The fear of death, of the unknown, is more terrifying than death itself. Fear is a leech, a vampire, feeding off of our dreams. But fear drinks something more precious than our blood.
It steals our time.
Am I a ghost?
I never believed in ghosts when I was alive. I couldn’t see them, so they couldn’t be real, right? How finite my vision was then. I wasted so much of my life. Now I’m left with only my spirit, hungry to regain what I have lost. Where is this God mankind has been singing praises to for centuries? I haven’t seen him. Maybe he doesn’t exist either.
But I do.
So what if there is nothing beyond the door, on the other side, or whatever poetry you might assign to this purgatory where I hunger for life and yet I’m unable to taste it. I am trapped. There are no great horns of heaven calling me home. No pure white light welcoming me into its warmth. There’s nothing for me now.
Regret over all I lost, all I could have been. Regret that I let fear run my life, instead of following my dreams. Fear abandoned me, leaving me alone with regret as my mistress, and her arms are cold. Her embrace is far too tight, painful, and her touch makes me want to scream, only to find I have no body to give my woes a voice.
Do I feel pain?
I am pain now. I have no physical body to feel it, but I linger here cold and alone. I can envision no greater pain than this existence I endure. I miss my family. I want to see my children. I want to tell them to live, really live every single day, and to look for magic in the world. I want to tell them to listen to the music that life offers and embrace it. I hope they never let doubt creep into their hearts. Doubt is like a cancer eating away the beauty of everyday life. Each day is a gift, not to be earned or won, but cherished and loved. Moonlight, stars, sunsets, sunrises, a bird’s song, a flower’s bloom, a child’s laughter, there’s magic in everything if you can allow yourself to see it. Scientists try to explain the process behind each phenomenon, but don’t let them steal the glorious magic from the moment. Reach out and grab it, experience it. I hope my children take the time to watch a sunset, touch the morning dew on a flower petal, love their children, and life, and all the miracles that come with it.
Where is my family now?
I wish I knew. My wife died not long after I did. Her blood is still on my hands, even though I can’t see them anymore. I made so many mistakes. I wish I could go back and make things right. I tried to beg for her forgiveness, but the agony of this existence is, she never heard me.
I really didn’t deserve her forgiveness. I still don’t. But I need it. I yearn for it.
She refused to believe what the police told her about my death. She couldn’t accept that the father of her children had been shot down by a drug dealer. I still love her for that faith in me. Although many doctors told us over the years that her heart muscle was damaged and weakening, she still had twice as much heart as most people. Maybe more. She deserved so much better than I ever gave her.
She looked beautiful the night she finished boxing up my things in the office. I wished I could still smell her. My wife had a certain scent, clean and beautiful like morning itself. It wasn’t cologne from a bottle, it was just her.
She stared down at the box and finally picked up one of my CDs. I used to be a composer. We never lived like kings, but I made a living. I wrote mostly commercial jingles that I hated. I think that was the beginning of the end for me. My dream was to write a symphony that would live on well after I was gone. But somewhere along the way I gave up my dream. I let fear and doubt steal my soul. The drug habit came later. It numbed the pain.
She put my CD inside the stereo, and the moment she pressed play, we were engulfed in music. My music. It filled the room, surrounding us. If I had eyes I would have cried, but I think she wept enough for both of us.
I had orchestrated the symphony on my computer, painstakingly weaving each instrument into the fabric of my music with a keyboard synthesizer. All of my love, hate, rage, pain and fear were right there in my music for her to see. The music I never shared with her.
Because I was afraid.
I watched the woman I love weep until she clasped her chest.
“No!” I screamed, but I had no voice, not anymore. I tried to hold her, to comfort her, but I had no body, only my music on the stereo.
She gasped for air and whispered out her last words. “I love you.”
I don’t even remember what my last words were. But I’ll remember hers until the end of time, and I will never feel worthy of them. My music moved her, but I let fear keep me from sharing it with her until it was too late. When I was alive I could have held her and told her I loved her, but instead I was snorting white powder and hoping it would make my dreams real.
Our children moved in with her sister. I wish I could see them. There is so much I want to tell them.
Oh God, please don’t leave me alone again. No, wait! I can barely hear you…
Dream, live, love. Oh and one more thing. Don’t fear ghosts.
Fear being one.